Colon cancer screenings to start younger

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“Troubling” cancer trend caused the move of the potentially life-saving screening

In a move that responds to an alarming trend, the United States Preventive Services Task Force has amended its recommendation to make a screening more inclusive.

Following a significant increase in new colon cancer diagnosis in the United States, the task force has lowered the start of the recommended screening age from 50 to 45.

“The change in this recommendation represents a great step in our ability to catch this disease at an earlier and more treatable stage,” said Dr. Rana Bilbeisi, an oncologist with the Karmanos Cancer Institute at McLaren Macomb. “The trending of colon cancer moving younger has honestly been quite troubling, and this is a great way to include more people in a potentially life-saving screening.”

New colon cancer cases in the United States have been trending younger, with 10.3 percent of all new cases occurring in those under 50, a shift punctuated by the tragic death of Marvel actor Chadwick Boseman at age 43 this past summer.

The move’s motivation is based on researchers’ findings, which concluded that 45-year-olds have been receiving colon cancer diagnosis at the same rate as those aged 50.

The task force and other cancer organizations recommend a colonoscopy or stool-based test, based on patient preference or physician suggestion.